Monday, November 4, 2013

Vile Bodies and Power Struggles In a Divine Setup

Women occasionally blog the view that sex is abhorrent, disgusting, filthy or dirty. As there is a close association between excretory and sexual functions there is some justification for the comments. Hormones usually manage to override these reservations.

Even St Paul acknowledged that we have "vile bodies" which he contrasted sharply with the promised "glorious" resurrected bodies. (Philippians 3:20,21 KJV) If the creator could give us glorious bodies why did He choose to supply us with vile bodies? Babies get into daily excretory messes and old people frequently have similar experiences.

Do you know that before a single blade of grass appeared on this earth God had already anticipated the sacrifice and death of Jesus? (1 Peter 1:18-21; Revelation 13:8) That doesn't mean Jews were predestined to crucify Jesus. Jesus provoked it. In His last week on earth He called the religious leaders "whitewashed tombs.. hypocrites.. snakes.. vipers.." (Matthew 23: 1-33 NIV) The consequence was absolutely predictable.

Christ could only have died if death and its associated evils of sickness, disability and other bodily malfunctions had become established misfortunes here. Our earth is not perfect -- it is just "very good" (with its light and darkness etc) for its designated purpose.

This article argues that the earth is a setup. It is both a laboratory and the chosen battlefield in which rival theories on how the universe should be run are being tested out.

The universe is at war. (Revelation 12:7-9) In war unusual things happen. Murder is a very serious offence but in wars it is a routine by-product because the consequences of pacifism are unacceptable. Maybe some of the seemingly inappropriate provisions of the Bible were motivated by the exigencies of spiritual warfare.

Satan, represented as a dragon, is the leader of the enemy forces. (Revelation 12:3,9) Early in his opposition role he apparently still had access to heaven, as I have discussed in other writings. When God challenged his right to be there Satan claimed, in effect, that he represented the earth -- earthlings supported his philosophies. God drew his attention to righteous Job. Satan said God was coddling him and said that as soon as trouble came to Job he would curse God to His face. So God permitted Satan to put the heat on Job to test him out. (Job 1:8-2:10) This presents one aspect of how the spiritual war is conducted.

At the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry He fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. Satan chose that time of physical weakness to offer Him a great deal. (Matthew 4:1-8) Jesus, the second person in the HolyTrinity, could have control of the earth provided he bowed down and worshipped Satan. Jesus declined the offer, but the incident showed clearly that there was a power struggle at the very top.

At some stage Satan and his followers were kicked out heaven. (Revelation 12:7,8; Luke 10:18) Stars often symbolize angels in the Bible; so when Satan swept a third of the stars of heaven to the earth it can be understood as saying that a third of the angels of heaven joined him on the earth. (Revelation 1:20;12:3,4) Such a huge opposition constitutes a serious challenge to the ruling Trinity.

Humans are a lower order of creatures than angels, yet in some respects they are superior to them. Man was created in the image of God. That is not said of angels. God has creative power; humans have procreative power; angels have neither. The human family (father, mother and children) in some respects mirrors the characteristics of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), ideally united by mutual love and unselfishsness.

The unpretentious circumstances of our birth may be a divine attempt to keep proud and arrogant man humble. If this was the intention it failed, but it was a nice try!

If our hormones are urging us into sex it may seem strange that the Bible is so opposed to adultery and even singles' sex. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) There are no such restrictions about how rams and ewes carry on. Sex may be just as much a test of human obedience as was the garden of Eden directive to not eat forbidden fruit.

If the earth is actually a setup arbitrary tests of obedience may be just what it is all about. The Bible, of course, offers a fall-back provision of forgiveness and restoration for the appropriately repentant. If a sense of human weakness helps us develop faith and trust in God we would meet a necessary pre-condition for promotion to a better life hereafter. It should also ensure all such repentant and appreciative sinners would be on God's side in spiritual wars.

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